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27.03.2011 Feature Article

The attacks on Libya - Western double standards?

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The attacks on Libya by American, British and French forces has shown that the very same people who advocate peace and respect for human rights are in fact the very same people who have no regard whatsoever for these two principles.

The situation in Libya where some of the population are demanding true and fair democracy is an internal affair that can only be solved by the Libyan people themselves.

Therefore what the United States, Britain and France have demonstrated is that their interests are far more important than the sovereignty of a nation.

Libya is a sovereign state and is free to conduct its affairs the way it sees fit without foreign interference just as the United States, Britain and France are sovereign states and are free to conduct their internal affairs the way they see fit.

An example of this is the disturbances in Northern Ireland where a catholic minority is fighting for a united Ireland whilst the protestant majority is fighting to keep their ties to Britain. The disturbances in Northern Ireland led to thousands of lives being lost and tens of millions of pounds in structural damage before a negotiated settlement was agreed upon at the Good Friday accord in 1998 – even today the situation in Northern Ireland remains delicately precarious.

The British government was adamant that the Northern Ireland issue was an internal affair and that not even the United Nations should be allowed to interfere.

This therefore shows that if the British have the right of sorting out their internal problems than why hasn't Libya that same accord?

What is at the heart of these attacks by the United States, Britain and France is as I stated earlier on, their interests. What are these interests you may be wondering?

Well it is quite simple really, the interests that the aforementioned countries have in Libya is oil.

Ironically these same western nations that are condeming Gaddadfi were only a few years back signing multi-billion dollar oil deals with him.

Libya is the biggest oil producer in Afrika, has one of the world's largest reserves of crude oil and is the main supplier of oil particularly to Western Europe – for example Libya supplies 10% of all Germany's oil needs.

The situation in Libya therefore represents a worry to the west as (a) oil supplies could be put under threat and (b) that a prolonged conflict in Libya could send oil prices skyrocketing and this is the last thing the West wants especially when their industries are highly dependent on oil and its by products and also when their economies are struggling to come out of recession.

This therefore precipitated the need for military action under the guise of protecting the Libyan people from the tyrant and autocratic Gaddafi.

It is totally unacceptable in this supposedly democratic age that due to commercial interests AND NOT humanitarian interests that a small group of nations can use the United Nations to railroad their agenda.

One wonders why if the West really cared about humanitarian needs that they have virtually ignored the situation in La Cote D'Ivoire, no oil perhaps and even another scenario, that the lives of Black Afrikans are not as important as those north of the sahara – food for thought.

Kwame Osei, Dr.
Kwame Osei, Dr., © 2011

The author has 116 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwameOsei

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